Saturday, August 22, 2020

Diary: Depression, considering depression.

I have a project I’m all excited about: “Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity,” a detailed critical examination of his astounding “Case Against Reality.”  

Unfortunately, one thing after another keeps real progress out of my reach.  Hours worth of free time is rare, I get snippets.  Soon as I think I’ve carved out some time, bam.  Within the past week another couple hugely time consuming family projects have been piled on.  Heck, I barely have the time to drop in at CFI these days.  

Don’t get me wrong, life is all about today, our day to days, and the people, our family, those lives and times matter most.   Still it requires an investment of time and I’m good with that.  It’s that little writer dude inside that has his occasional issues - but we make due.  Sturm und drang, dancing the sword’s edge of living, we do.

Last night, I finally responded to a pal at CFI Forum who brought up the despair that aware individuals are going through, as we’re watching our decades old worst fears unfolding with frightening rapidity.  I had some ten day mulling it over and waiting for a good time to sit down and focus on it. Last night the stars alined and I stayed up alone.  Me'n my Ms.Mac laptop.

I’m sharing it here, with a little polishing, since I guess the dream of encountering some real dialogue remains, no matter how cynical I may seem. This is also part of laying out my case to my own satisfaction.

Yo , hope you’re doing well. 

I’m in from my last walk with Maddy, dark skies, stars and all that.  I keep thinking back on your “clinically depressed” remark, which really caught me by surprise. Although, didn’t take long to figure out where it was coming from.  It’s made for lots of musing about the difference between “clinical” depressions and plain old justified human depression.

Seems to me clinical depression is for the candles in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when the rains come in, and so on.  The lost souls without a foundation under them.   

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Scientism: On getting lost within the Mindscape.

It’s an odd sensation, periodically rediscovering how some things that I find self-evident, seem absolutely foreign (if not invisible) to most others.  When I embraced the term “Mindscape” a couple years back, I thought I did a good job of capturing a metaphor for those universes of thoughts that we possess just beyond our physical brain with its neurons, synapses and electro-chemical cascades.  The seat of ego, emotions, thought, reflection, god seeking, knowledge seeking, love seeking, success thirsting, the sense of self, our life’s spirit, our soul, whatever labels you want to tag onto it.  

The world flowing through our physical senses and then getting sorted through our genetic and environmental filters before being reflected against the metaphorical retina of our brain and infusing through our body.  The thing that thinks it’s telling our body what to do, when most the time it’s the other way around.  The thing that believes it’s in control of us, or out of control, as the case may be.  The thing that is us, but has yet to be found by scientist or philosopher.  

I’ve discovered that suggesting we should categorize it differently than the stuff of atoms and the laws of physics invites the wildest mental gymnastics intent on drawing the discussion away from the essence of acknowledging the ephemeral nature of our human mind, that thing that animates our bodies during our short dance across physical reality’s stage, or more specifically, Earth - and then disappears when we die.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

"Mindscape" it's a psychological thing.

I need to correct some unfortunate misunderstanding regarding my use of the term "Mindscape" and why it matters.  This is a continuation of the discussion at Center for Inquiry's forum and I appreciate the opportunity to reconsider and restate something that's important to me.

Lausten:  August 4, 2020 at 4:19 pm - at CFI

Not too clear to me either Tim. I see “opposed to” and take it as something separate from, something “not”. 

I agree there is a lot we don’t know, and you could say that is conceptual or theoretical, or I would say that, but anyway, but I don’t really draw a line at “human desires”. 

Human desires arise from the physical, so there is no separation. 

It’s almost like CC thinks you are making a case that human thoughts cause things to occur in the physical world. I think you would say that but only in the most circular way, that is, thoughts are created by physical particles interacting, and physical particles act on each other.

Or am I getting too far out there?


Okay please give me the benefit of the doubt, lets backtrack on all this and start at home base again.

Forget about the organism of our brain and our little gray cells and all the marvelous things they do that (together with the environment it’s dealing with) produces the mind, thought, consciousness, sentience, memory, mindscape. 

First step,

It’s about me and the way I look at the world.  There’s my body and then there’s that “sense of self” that is constantly thinking and talking, ‘me’ – where does it reside?  All my learning happens through it, heck seems like all I am radiates out from there.  And all the world must enter through my senses and get translated into something my “sense of self” can do something with.

My “sense of self” (mindscape) reinhabits my body when I wake in the morning.  I then through my body proceed to deal with all the environmental requirements of my day to days.  Where do I get my sense of self from?  First I think of my sight that takes in the world and my other senses smell, taste, sound, touch filtering the world that arrives in my consciousness.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Debating the Mindscape

One of my frustrations is the intellectual isolation, so it’s always refreshing getting a little serious pushback and challenges.  This past week at the Center For Inquiry's Forum, my virtual corner pub so to speak, my term “Mindscape” along with my contention of a fundamental divide between Mindscape and Physical Reality has received a thrashing.  In particular, D.R.Hansen thinks "Mindscape" is an awful term, though he bases that on some misconceptions that I'm happy to clarify.

Since I’ve been wanting to better enunciate those conceptions anyways, I'm taking the opportunity to share highlights from our discussion at “So, what the heck is Scientism?.”  A title meant to entice visits and discussion regarding "scientism", but that was detoured into a discussion about the validity of coining the term "Mindscape."   Enjoy.  Visit CFI to join the discussion.

July 27, 2020 at 10:14 pm



On the concept of “mindscape”:

I have serious issues with the concept of “mindscape” that are both linguistic and conceptual.

Some definitions describe it as referring to (if you will pardon my oversimplifying paraphrasing) “stuff that goes on in the mind.” 

Yes, the “stuff that goes on in the mind” please refer to appendix 1 for more technical descriptions.

I would regard such definitions as including this “stuff” as a elements of physical reality, products of the neurological structures and activity of the brain. 

They may feel like something different than physical reality since we can’t touch or see them, and since we have a very limited knowledge of how the brain manifests them, but it does not follow that because those feelings seem mysterious and because there are gaps in our understanding of them that they exist as things outside physical reality, … any more than our distant ancestors’ sense that meteorological phenomena or the presence of stars in the sky were the work of some being or force outside their physical reality.

Yes, I agreed.  *I can also see where my clumsy wording, and in particular employing “vs” was a counter-productive choice in my original essay. (also see TimB at the bottom of this page)

It was a mistake, I wanted to be provocative but instead was misleading.  

I will point out that I’ve never written that the “Mindscape” is outside of reality or that it’s part of a separate metaphysical reality.  Though I can see how others could have misunderstand. 

I have always spoken about recognizing the profound boundary between Physical Reality and our individual and collective Mindscapes.  This is about psychology, this is about us recognizing personal limitations and gaining a better perspective for the grand stage of reality that we exist within.